Sunday, February 4, 2007

Journalism and Society

Blatantly copied from

Small Dead Animals

Journalism blithely builds bridges for others to use to transport troops into the heartland. It has lost the skill to differentiate behavior that is antithetical to any society. As a surrogate for readers, it chases what it claims to be objectivity so hard it can no longer identify and label misbehavior. It does so because journalism -- and the programs that teach journalists -- can't see what they can't see. When they can't see what they are missing no traction exists to convince them what must be done to recover their purpose.

Journalism does not see a society at risk. Thucydides, wrote "The History of the Peloponnesian War" 2,400 years ago about the war between Athens and Sparta. Thucydides warning to readers is that just as Athens' weaknesses became its strengths and her strengths became her weaknesses, so do those lessons apply for all nations even today. The great strengths of America have been the roots of her foundation, her liberty, her wealth and her isolation, her unfettered press, her education, and her political processes. These strengths are the weapons turned back against us so long as we fail to recognize our strengths can be double-edged.

Two hundred years of stability have left America believing the freedom citizens enjoy is more permanent than it is. Her liberty is presumed to exist by nature rather then the product of constant vigilance. Her wealth and her isolation have let citizens become complacent. Her education has turned into schooling of easily-tested clich├ęs that supplant honing skills to think. Her unfettered press allows propaganda to be injected unchallenged into every corner of the country into minds unprepared to defend themselves against it. Her political processes have become adversarial, tuned more towards winning power than serving principle. She is, as Athens was, at war with herself as much as with any external enemy, yet does not anticipate the consequences.

We've been starting to pay for this attitude, and I think there's worse to come.

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